I probably said ‘You have got to be fucking kidding me’ more yesterday than I had ever done in my life previously.

It started with a frantic call at 8:30 saying our phone and internet were down, then another call (while I was in the shower) to say there was a security team there for a non-existant screening and they wouldn’t leave until their supervisor showed up. Even then, after they were briefed, they had to stay in the building because the previous film they were supposed to be guarding (FROM PIRATES, because the ByTowne staff are totally filming films on the iPods all the time) had a digital key that opened the file from 12:00 to 13:32 (exactly) and they had to be in the building during that time frame. They also explained that they would be there, in a team of 8 or 9, to SEARCH EVERYONE who came in to the screening of this film, confiscate every phone (including the staff’s), and use metal detectors. People would have to go through the search again any time they left the auditorium.

Understandably, I was livid. The Animation Festival was livid. For this kind of operation, we needed a lot more notice. The auditorium holds 650 people and ‘processing’ attendees in this draconian fashion was probably going to take hours, hours we didn’t have. I emailed my boss (or attempted to – it turns out my phone hadn’t been sending mail properly since last week and I hadn’t noticed!), then sent him some rambly Google Talk ‘Holy shit, you won’t believe what has contracted a security team to do for ‘ set of messages. He called from his Caribbean home, was more calm, yet still livid, and said he’d email and call his reps at the distributor (even though our reps had nothing to do with it – as mentioned above, it is part of the festival, so we did not book it) to see what he could do.* Oh, and he also said he’d call the construction crew contacts to see about the phone/internet.

Yep, still no internet and phone. It turns out that a big construction diggy thing (I know all the technical jargon) severed our phone line mid-afternoon on Monday. The bookkeeper (who did the frantic phoning at 8:30) hadn’t seen the note that the manager had left about it in the day book.

Did you know that you can’t call Bell Canada’s customer service line from a non-Bell phone? You get a busy signal, not a message with an explanation. The staff on Monday all had Rogers or Telus phones and didn’t make the connection as to why it wasn’t working. I have a Rogers phone and figured it out after I tried 611 and it routed me to Rogers. This made finding out what happened and what the timeline for repairs were rather difficult. I called the City, but they didn’t even have a contact name at the construction company (who weren’t on site at the time, as it was pissing down rain), just one for the contractors’ office. I had to go to the courtesy phone at Loblaws to get in contact with Bell; the overseas call centre agent had no record of a problem with our lines.**

Luckily, Paul the Projectionist turned up for festival tech set-up, so he could fill me in on more details. The crew from the previous day had called Bell and waited for them until 9:30 or so. Some dudes in helmets showed up across the street as he was telling me this, so I went over to ask what they knew. The supervisor was just finishing a phone call when I approached; it turns out he had been calling Bell. They were still giving him vague answers ‘because of the rain delays’ (?). Meanwhile, I could see the severed cable sticking out of the ground. There was a lot of copper. I’m surprised one of the Rideau Street regulars hadn’t decided to help themselves.

My boss got in touch with the head of the construction project and he stopped by to assure me he’d let me know as soon as he knew a timeline for the repairs to be done. He did let me know. Bell would be there at 5:30, 26 hours after the initial cut.

Big surprise, when I left just before 6, they still hadn’t shown up. I asked the managerial types at the cinema to get in touch if a) a Bell truck actually showed up and b) the phone lines came back. The former did happen, around 7, but I didn’t get a call about the phones. As of 9:30, they still weren’t working, but I guess some different magic pixies turned up and finished the job later, since I called our info line (which depends on an old school answering machine) and it worked this morning. Hopefully I can restore some order/get some work done today.

The other things that happened yesterday included ragtime starting several days early, getting a parking ticket because in the midst of all this chaos, I didn’t remember to move my car, later finding out that the parking lot we recommend to customers will no longer let our customers use it, and my inhaling three oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, barely tasting them, despite deciding to cut back on refined sugar.

My biggest accomplishments yesterday included: Not crying and not committing murder. Both were very close things.

* I got a call last night from the festival tech people to say they had been talked down, by my boss and their boss, to using night-vision goggles to make sure people weren’t filming the film. Phew. Still a pain in the arse, but more of a random pimple than a full-on hemorrhoid problem.

** Four lines are required to run our business. Y’know how fun it is to tell a customer that our ATM is down when it is raining torrentially? Not very.

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